privacy

231 posts
Optimizing retail spaces

Patrick Sisson for The New York Times reports on the growing popularity of tracking customer movement in stores: Complicating efforts to address privacy concerns is a lack of regulatory clarity. Without an overarching federal privacy law or even a shared definition of personal data, retailers must sort through layers of state and municipal rules, such as California’s Consumer Privacy Act, said Gary Kibel, a partner at the law firm Davis+Gilbert...

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Your location for sale

Companies collect and aggregate location data from millions of people’s phones. Then that data gets sold in a multibillion-dollar market. Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng for The Markup report on who’s doing the collecting and where your data goes: Once a person’s location data has been collected from an app and it has entered the location data marketplace, it can be sold over and over again, from the data providers...

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Seeing how devices talk to each other

Your computer connects to your router, which connects to your modem. Your printer connects to your computer. The devices all send data and talk to each other. Nicole He and Eran Hilleli imagined these conversations in augmented reality: The application would first detect all of the different devices connected to your network; this would include the more obvious ones like computers or phones, as well as other things, like TVs,...

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A short film on giving up privacy, for better or worse

We know what you did during lockdown is a short fiction film by Financial Times that demonstrates the challenges of using data for good at the sacrifice of privacy and the complexity of individual lives. Worth the watch. I immediately wanted to unplug every single internet-connected device in the house. But of course I did not. See also the short film Sight from 2012, which imagines a world where everyone’s...

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When you don’t own your face

For The New York Times, Kashmir Hill describes the implications of facial recognition becoming a thing that everyone just has: Retail chains that get their hands on technology like this could try to use it to more effectively blacklist shoplifters, a use Rite Aid has already piloted (but abandoned). In recent years, surveillance companies casually rolled out automated license-plate readers that track cars’ locations, which are frequently used to solve...

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Public agencies using facial recognition software without oversight

An anonymous source supplied BuzzFeed News with usage data from Clearview AI, the facial recognition service that was banned by many police departments nationwide. Many agencies still used and/or tried it: The data, provided by a source who declined to be named for fear of retribution, has limitations. When asked about it in March of this year, Clearview AI did not confirm or dispute its authenticity. Some 335 public entities...

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Tracking Capitol rioters through their mobile phone data

For NYT Opinion, Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson returned to the topic of location data logged by our mobile phones. This time though, they turned their attention to the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021: The data we were given showed what some in the tech industry might call a God-view vantage of that dark day. It included about 100,000 location pings for thousands of smartphones, revealing around...

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U.S. military buys location data from apps

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: Some app developers Motherboard spoke to were not aware who their users’ location data ends up with, and even if a user examines an app’s privacy policy, they may not ultimately realize how many different industries, companies, or government agencies are buying some of their most sensitive data. U.S. law enforcement purchase of such information has raised questions about authorities buying their way to location...

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Student surveillance and online proctoring

To combat cheating during online exams, many schools have utilized services that try to detect unusual behavior through webcam video. As with most automated surveillance systems, there are some issues. For The Washington Post, Drew Harwell looks into the social implications of student surveillance: Fear of setting off the systems’ alarms has led students to contort themselves in unsettling ways. Students with dark skin have shined bright lights at their...

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Blacklight, a tool to see how the websites you visit are tracking you

Companies are tracking what you do online. You know this. But it can be a challenge to know the extent, because the methods are hidden on purpose. So The Markup built Blacklight: To investigate the pervasiveness of online tracking, The Markup spent 18 months building a one-of-a-kind free public tool that can be used to inspect websites for potential privacy violations in real time. Blacklight reveals the trackers loading on...

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